2027: Obi, Obidients not our concern now –  Presidency

Thoughts and activities of the followers of the candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in last year’s presidential election, Mr. Peter Obi, will not distract it President Bola Ahmed Tinubu Administration, the Presidency has said.

Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, who ruled out the possibility of the administration being distracted, also accused the former Anambra governor of introducing a dangerous slant to politics by deploying religious and ethnic sentiments.

Onanuga spoke in a chat aired on Mic On Podcast.

Obi’s supporters (also known as the Obidients), have been critical of government policies Tinubu took the baton of leadership.

However, reacting to a question on whether Obi’s politics and his followers could posing a threat to President Tinubu’s chances in 2027, Onanuga said the administration has no time to entertain thoughts about 2027 politics yet.

He said: “As of now, we are busy with governance and we don’t want our attention diverted from the focus of what the government is trying to do. We are very busy, we’re not even looking at them now.”

Speaking about Obi’s political style at the last election, he said: “What I know about the campaign of Obi was that for the first time in a very long while in our country, we had a candidate who was inflaming ethnic passion and that was the way the election went at that time, he was inflaming ethnic and religious passions, bringing two dangerous things to our politics; ethnicity and religion. That was what he did and those things were dangerous to our politics.”

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Asked if he believed some opponents want to intentionally sabotage the Tinubu administration, the Presidential spokesman said: “Of course, it is very clear unless people are not perceptive. Up till now, some are still writing that Bola Tinubu stole the presidency and some people are saying that the man who came third actually won the election, and they are very unapologetic about that.

“How could somebody who came third how could he have won that election? You can even see when they were talking about the naira, some people were just happy that the Naira was going downhill. You can trace them. People who are saying so are members of the Obidient movement.”

He debunked the belief in some quarters that President Tinubu also employed religious tactics, especially in his choice of a deputy, noting that the choice of Vice President Shettima was basically because of his other qualities and not his religious persuasion.

He said the safe faith ticket of the APC at the polls “was not religious. You could see that the Muslim/Muslim ticket did not win him massive votes, let’s say in Borno, where his deputy came from. For the man he picked as his VP, he believe that Shettima has the qualities to be his vice president and that’s why he picked him, he was not looking at religion.

“Let me give you an incident. We went somewhere recently and we found out that most of the people in the media section of this government are actually Muslims. I was born a Muslim, but it was mere coincidence, when they were picking them, nobody was looking at their religion.

“When President Tinubu was picking Shettima as his vice, he was picking Shettima and not looking at him as a Muslim. He was looking at Shettima, from the Northeast part of the country, who can add values to his campaign, to his winning the Presidency.

“Shettima earned the vice presidency because of his contributions to that campaign; he was with him all the way, even before the primary. When you want to appoint someone to work with you, you have to count loyalty, it’s very vital. Even the quality of the person is also very important and you can see what Shettima has been doing; he’s loyal to the President and he has shown a lot of qualities as Vice President.”

Asked to compare President Tinubu with his predecessor, former President Muhammadu Buhari, Onanuga said it would be too early to be drawing conclusions on performances as President Tinubu is barely a year in the saddle.

He however said that the two leaders have their human differences and different ways of attending to issues, noting that the former president had been unfairly judged by many commentators

According to him, Buhari tried his best for the country, especially in the area of infrastructure development and the enrichment of the legal system.

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